Ron Radosh

Post-Mortem on the Woman's March: What Did It Achieve?

Carmen Perez, left, and Linda Sarsour, co-chairs of the Women's March on Washington, participate in an interview Jan. 9, 2017 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Donald Trump lacks a national mandate, and constitutional conservative Peter Berkowitz lays out the evidence for this claim in RealClearPolitics:

In the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, he won by miniscule margins of, respectively, 0.7 percent, 0.3 percent, and 0.3 percent. He eked out victory in Florida with a 1.2 percent advantage over Hillary Clinton. In not one of the top 11 battleground states did he win an absolute majority.

Therefore, the Women’s March on Washington last Saturday cannot simply be written off. Yet many conservatives have done just that, arguing that its leadership was extremely left-wing, the demonstrators just old radicals making themselves feel good, certain in their belief that they represent the true interests of the people.

To assume the march will have no lasting effects is wrongheaded. When so many millions turn out throughout the United States, their potential political impact cannot be underrated. Remember what happened when the Tea Party was first born? It began with protests, and then participants realized they would have to get involved politically to affect change. They succeeded, and an entire group of new conservative congressmen and senators was elected.

It remains to be seen if the participants in the Women’s March, which currently lacks a coherent message or recognized leaders, will want to or can emulate the Tea Party’s success in rank-and-file organizing and getting like-minded candidates elected.

Writing in last Sunday’s New York Times, David Brooks does not think the above scenario is in the cards. The marchers, he argues, could never present a real opposition to Donald Trump because they were supporting issues mainly important to “upper-middle-class voters in university towns and coastal cities,” i.e., New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, etc.

While social change can occur through grassroots movements, as it did with the civil rights movement, usually real change comes only through party politics.

Marching, Brooks writes:

 … [is] a seductive substitute for action in an apolitical era.

The marchers did not offer their audience serious new ideals to rally behind, an alternative patriotism different than that presented by Trump. Instead they reaffirmed the left’s old, discredited identity politics.

Brooks’ point is reaffirmed by the organizers of the march and the speakers chosen for it. They did not have the resources or experience in putting together a march, chartering buses, coordinating with the base in every state, and getting them to a nearby big city or to Washington, D.C. Thus they turned to professionals, all of whom turned out to be from the ranks of the hard Left.

More important is the role played by the march’s honorary co-chairman, Angela Davis. (The full story was told in an op-ed in USA Today by Cathy Young.)

Davis’ most important years were spent as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and as a member and defender of the Black Panther Party. She was put on trial for procuring arms for a black radical whose attack on a courthouse, with the arms Davis provided, led to the death of a judge and the wounding of a prosecutor and a juror.

Most importantly, she was a steadfast defender of the most repressive Communist regimes and supported the arrest and imprisonment of dissidents. Young concludes:

When an anti-abortion feminist group is beyond the pale but a longtime apologist for the crimes of Communism is not, the resistance can hardly lay a claim to the moral high ground — or appeal to the bulk of Americans who consider themselves moderates.

Read the entire text of Davis’ remarks at he Women’s March.

Every word could have been spoken when she went to the Soviet Union in the ’80s, and to East Germany. The speech contains every Marxist-Leninist platitude combined with today’s list of “who is most oppressed.” “History,” she told the crowd, “could not be deleted like web pages.” Indeed — the march organizers whitewashed much of her history in their entry for her. It can easily be found, however, on a website devoted to her or on Wikipedia.

Then we have the other co-chair of the March, American Palestinian-Muslim activist Linda Sarsour.

Bethany Mandel uncovers Sarsour’s record — you should read Mandel’s work. Sarsour claims that Israel alone is guilty of the slaughter in the Middle East, she defends Sharia law, and she is — of course — a supporter of the BDS movement.

Were all the Jewish groups that participated in the Women’s March aware of Sarsour’s record? If so, did they stay silent because they wanted to help the cause?

As Mandel notes, others who spoke or gave their names to the march are fierce critics of Israel, including a speaker from CAIR, and the long-time pro-communist, anti-Israel activist Harry Belafonte.

It is probably accurate to claim that many of the marchers around the country did not hear these speeches or know much about the organizers. But if they move forward from here with Davis, Sarsour, and those of like mind emerging as the face of this incipient movement?

With such radical leadership, their goal of ending the current overwhelming Republican domination of elected office will not only fail, but the Democratic Party will lose a flood of voters who want no part of this radicalism. As Brooks says:

[P]rogressives seem intent on doubling down on exactly what has defeated them so often.